Stanford will miss out on Final Four for the first time in five years after falling, 61-59, in the Sweet 16.
SPOKANE — Somehow the enormous shock of seeing Stanford’s run of five straight trips to the Final Four come to a premature end didn’t carry that much sting.
Along with the sense of disappointment came perspective for what the top-seeded Cardinal accomplished.
“I think the reason that I’m not going ballistic right now is we’re 33-3,” Stanford star Chiney Ogwumike said. “That was a huge achievement for our program.”
Still, it’s surprising that for the first time since 2007, Stanford won’t be playing for a spot in the Final Four.
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Jasmine Hassell scored six of her 13 points in the final three minutes and fourth-seeded Georgia beat top-seeded Stanford 61-59 on Saturday night to reach the NCAA women’s regional finals for the first time since 2004. Georgia will face No. 2-seeded California in the Elite Eight after the Bears beat LSU on Saturday.
Georgia overcame three major scoring droughts to oust the No. 1 seed from the Spokane Regional and end Stanford’s hopes of reaching the Final Four for the sixth straight year.
Jasmine James led Georgia (28-6) with 16 points, including a pair of free throws with 23.5 seconds left that gave the Lady Bulldogs a 60-56 lead. It’s the 11th trip to the regional finals in Georgia coach Andy Landers’ tenure at Georgia.
“To finally make the next step and go to the Elite Eight and now to be going into another game to try to compete to go to the Final Four is definitely back to where Georgia basketball needs to be, trying to compete for a national championship,” James said.
Ogwumike led Stanford (33-3) with 26 points, but was held to eight points in the second half. She also had 12 rebounds.
Amber Orrange added 17 points for Stanford, but was only 7 of 24 from the field. The Cardinal shot 29 percent in the second half and struggled to find open looks for Ogwumike. Second-leading scorer Joslyn Tinkle went more than 35 minutes of game time without scoring. She finished with five points.
“Obviously we competed,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said, “but we had to really go as hard as we could; we worked as hard as we could to get to where we are. And I’m disappointed because I have experienced more, going to the Final Four and winning a national championship. But I’m not disappointed with what this team accomplished.”